He's Spartacus. No, really, he is Spartacus. Goran Visnjic is thrilled to have the title role in the upcoming USA Network miniseries Spartacus, playing the Roman slave made famous by Kirk Douglas in the 1960 film.
"I really love period stuff. I love the history," Visnjic says of movies like Spartacus, which he says he has seen more than once. "There's the whole event of Spartacus' rebellion. There are big battles. There's going to be a lot of action."
The 30-year-old native of Croatia, known to ER viewers as Dr. Luka Kovac, just finished shooting scenes for a fall ER episode in Hawaii last week before flying off to Bulgaria, where Spartacus starts production Monday. That episode of the NBC hospital drama, renewed recently through 2006, follows up last week's season finale, in which Kovac was doing medical work in Africa.
The cast for the four-hour Spartacus, scheduled for broadcast in 2004, includes Alan Bates, Henry Simmons (NYPD Blue) and James Frain (The Count of Monte Cristo). Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan (The Kentucky Cycle) wrote the screenplay, based on the Howard Fast novel.
Visnjic is not a bit disoriented with a busy schedule that called for him to be in Los Angeles one day, Hawaii the next and Bulgaria the day after.
"It makes life interesting," he says with a laugh. "I'm really happy they offered Spartacus to me."